Our "High Stakes" World
I read an article about a child's math test. When her mother looked through the test she noticed that one question was marked wrong that shouldn't have been, because her daughter's answer was right. Turns out the company that created the test had the answer wrong. She went on to explain why this is a big deal. Here is the line that stood out for me, "In a low-stakes world, Pearson’s screw up was a low-stakes mistake. But now we’re forcing our kids — our eight, nine, and ten year olds — to live in a high-stakes world."
At first I got all fired up when I read that. It honestly made me really angry. "We're" forcing our kids. Who is we? Why are parents cooperating? Do the majority of the people really believe that they have no choice in this matter? And who says it's a high stakes world? Why are we letting "others" decide for us?
You may call me naive. You may say I'm privileged. And you may be right about both. I am reminded often of the little bubble I live in. I see that many people believe these things - that our world is a cut-throat, competitive, hard place. And still, I choose not to believe that. I believe we are meant to live in cooperation with each other. I believe that when we do, we are happier and healthier. I believe our children are craving a different way.
So what I want to do is yell, "WAKE UP! *You* have a choice. Yes you. You don't have to FORCE your kid to do anything if you don't feel it is the right thing to do. And I'm fairly certain it isn't."
Maybe your personal situation won't allow for homeschooling. I understand it isn't an option for every family. But that doesn't mean you have to just go along with and feed the current system. It's up to you to change it if it isn't fitting your child's needs. Refuse to buy into it. We all know about supply and demand - if enough parents stop buying what's currently being sold and start demanding change, it will happen. I know it's hard. It may feel impossible. So you start simply. You tell your child that their test scores don't define them and your love and approval will never depend on a letter or a number. You don't feed the hype and competition that fuels the school culture. Maybe you start conversations with other parents or your child's teachers about information you've read about how children learn. You tell your child (and yourself) that we all learn differently - in our own way and time - and you BELIEVE it. And if you don't believe it yet, you fake it until you do.
It seems that a large majority of our population is being driven by fear. Fear that our child won't be "successful" and that it will be our fault if we don't somehow get them through the system. But what is success? And what if THE SYSTEM is actually what is holding so many of us back? Then why are we doing this to our children? (And if you need some more reading, here is an article written by someone who believes that education doesn't guarantee success. So there is at least one other person out there.)
I'm not fired up anymore. I'm tired. I hope more people start questioning things and taking back what is rightfully theirs. All of our children deserve the best, and what we're serving up isn't it.
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Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.